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January 31, 2009

Kevin Na


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Kevin Na to the interview room. If you'll start out and give us some general comments on your round of 66 today. You currently are at 10-under for the tournament.
KEVIN NA: I didn't get off to too good of a start. I missed the fairway left on 1 and made par. Same shot, it was just a couple yards off in the left rough on 2 and didn't really have much of a lie there and ended up making bogey.
3, over-corrected, right rough. Good layup, but I hit a poor wedge shot into the right -- the bank of the bunker, made bogey.
And actually 4 was my turning point of the round. I hit another poor shot, left short in the bank, and had about a 15-footer for par. I wasn't too happy, and I was a bit frustrated, and I ended up making that 15-footer. It might have been 13 feet, whatever it was, for par, and I kind of said, geez, can this get any worse?
My caddie Kenny walking down 5 fairway, he just started talking to me, trying to get my mind off golf, started talking to me about everything besides golf. He was talking about what are you going to do next week and how is your friend doing. You know, I stopped thinking about golf, and I said, you know what, I'm going to just grind it out.
Actually on that shot, the next shot, I punched a 7-iron, and something kind of clicked in my swing that I felt something really good, and after that I hit a lot of punch shots out there. I think I hit it like 12 feet, made it.
Next hole I was in the bunker, great shot, four feet, made it.
Then parred 7.
8, that was like another 12-footer for birdie, made it.
Then made a bunch of pars.
Then par-5, 13, got there in two, two-putted.
The next hole I made a 20-footer. So I just kept making putts.
15, I got on the tee and it was playing pretty short today, so I was thinking driver, maybe 3-iron, 5-wood at the most into the green, and I said, you don't need to crush it just make sure it's in the fairway. So I tried to hit a low stinging driver and came over and next thing it was left and kept going left and never had a chance, and it was in the water. So I went to drop, and I dropped one. I told my caddie, we can still make 5. Punched a 3-wood down the middle had 8-iron in, 20 feet. Told him I could still make 5, and then I made the 20-footer, and I said, "I told you." So that was a big save for me.
17, I hit a great drive and two-putted.
And 18, I made a nice 20-footer for birdie.

Q. You've played very well in this tournament before, also played well in Tucson. What is it about the desert that's working for you?
KEVIN NA: I don't know, especially this golf course, I finished second. Last year I had a chance to win again, and finished fourth. I just like this golf course. Maybe the desert suits my game, I don't know. I really don't know. But I don't mind it. I've had success here, and I just -- some golf courses you get to, you just feel comfortable, and I think this is one of them.

Q. Does this course feel different from past years? A lot of talk about the rough being thicker.
KEVIN NA: Yes, the rough is a lot thicker. It's not much longer, but it's a lot more dense, and you catch a lot of fliers and you catch a lot of fluffers, too. It's really tough to judge it, and the fairways are at a premium out here right now.

Q. You had a pretty bad finger injury, I think a car door or something a few years ago. Is there anything lingering from that?
KEVIN NA: Yeah, actually it never bothers me, but about once a year it'll start bugging me, and last week it started bugging me. It's not anything with a bone, you just get it once in a while. Besides that, it's fine, nothing wrong with it.

Q. So there's no explaining that turnaround when you suddenly hit the 7th? You talked about you punched a 7-iron.
KEVIN NA: Basically what I did was shortened up my swing and tightened it up, and I started hitting more punch shots with the irons, and it kind of led into my driver and into my whole game.

Q. As I recall you turned pro during high school, right?

Q. Have you always felt like you've made the right decision with that? Have you ever had any second thoughts about it?
KEVIN NA: Not really after I got on TOUR. But when I first turned pro I wasn't sure, but it looks good to me now, yeah. But I mean, college would have been nice. That's definitely one part of my life that I'm going to miss, but I love what I'm doing and this is what I want to do. I won't change anything.

Q. You're pretty much settled into the routine now?
KEVIN NA: Yeah. I mean, it's my sixth year on TOUR, so I know what's going on.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you, Kevin.

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